Saturday, February 12, 2011

a somtime blogger hits the big time...

Well, not really, but it's big for me anyway. I'm actually writing a guest post at Mother in Israel this week. Crazy, right? The first half of the full story about David's birth is on her site, this is just the part about my c-section.

It took 2 hours to get me checked into a bed after my water had broken, and I was subsequently ignored for the next 4 hours, as I wasn't in active labor. Finally someone stopped in to check my dilation. An hour later they applied some gel to help me along and then ignored me again for 4 hours. Finally 12 hours after my water had broken, they decided to put me on pitocin. I was OK with this, having had it on both prior births. I started having gentle contractions over the next hour or so. They upped my dose to hurry things along, and the next time I was checked, the midwife got the "panic" look on her face. She felt not a head, but an elbow. not the end of the world in my mind, but she seemed to think it was VERY problematic. So, they backed off the pitocin to give the baby a chance to re-adjust. Then they (the 2 on-duty midwives) felt again and still felt what they thought was elbow, and one doctor who also said elbow but the doc they called in said it was a heel. They brought in the mobile Ultrasound (my nemesis) to look at the baby's position, and one said the baby was head down, one said he was feet down, one said she couldn't tell. They were all yelling at each other in the delivery room about what should be done and who was the most incompetent. It was a nightmare for me, having gone through so much to get to this point and being so opposed to surgery. They decided to do another ultrasound, my 3rd in less than 24 hours, and this time the one doc overrode the midwives and said I needed an emergency c-section. It was 3 AM, I'd been awake for almost 24 hours and I was worn down. So, I signed the papers and was wheeled, sobbing, into surgery. They refused to let my husband come in with me, which only made things worse. I spoke with the anesthesiologist and he told me he'd give me something to calm me down as well as for the pain. from that point on, I remember only hearing the baby cry as he was born, being told I couldn't touch him, and even if I had tried I realized my arms were strapped down to boards and spread out crucifixion-style. All I wanted to do was comfort and nurse my crying baby, who was instead being held by this stranger-doctor. I still have nightmares that the baby is crying and I can't get to him because my arms are strapped down. My only comfort at the time was that my husband would be able to hold him, which I later found out was not what happened. They let him only touch the baby for a moment before wheeling him away into the nursery and telling him he couldn't come. It would be another 14 hours until they would "let" me have the baby.
The next day I was even more upset to have one of the consulting docs tell me in a very superior way that the baby had been head down after all, so I probably could have given birth normally. The day after that, the doc who had tried to convince me to abort the baby came in while I was nursing. I didn't even want to speak to her, but I did want to show her that my boy was just fine thankyouverymuch. All she had to say to that was, "we'll see" in an ominous tone.
I am still very upset about the way things went down. I definitely want to do VBAC next time, even if I have to hire a private doctor to ensure it happens. After 3 years here and 3 births here you would think I would know how to work the system, but I still don't, and now I'm more nervous than ever about medical intervention during pregnancy and birth. My husband isn't excited about the idea of a home birth, so that's not really an option either.

Any one used to the Israeli medical system care to weigh in?

I edited this to add these links to my Husband's reactions at the time. Part one, Part two.


Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry for your experiences, and glad you now have your sweet baby boy. I had 5 babies in Israel, from 20-30 years ago, all in the hospital, all without intervention or drugs of any kind, with my husband and a midwife present at each birth. They were great experiences, healthy babies. I was never encouraged to take drugs of any kind. Perhaps it's the time difference, or just a matter of luck, which doctors were on duty. One of my daughters terminated a pregnancy in the US, very traumatic - has had good experiences here, now with her 2nd on the way. I would not necessarily blame Israeli (vs. other) doctors for your experiences, but what do I know. May you and your family be blessed with health.

Pesky Settler said...

Which hospital did this happen in?

My c-section was at Shaare Tzedek.

He was breech, I had an ECV at 35 weeks which failed (and gave me an appreciation for what I put my challah dough through) and was scheduled for a c-section at 39 weeks.

I was the last scheduled for the day and after fasting for 24 hours, I was finally told at 10 p.m. they weren't going to get to me that day (if things had gone according to schedule I would have gone to the OR at 2. But things took longer, emergencies came in and I kept getting pushed off) and I was now an 'emergency' for the next morning.

Which also meant I would go into the OR alone.

I got to see the baby (but not hold him), but my husband got to hold him and escorted him to the nursery.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment over at mother in israel b/c i am in total complete shock over this late term abortion recommendation. That was unbelievable. Beyond traumatic and I would pursue this dr. with the law.

As for the c-section---it sounds like you had a healthy, normal c-secion that B'H produced a healthy baby. I understand you didn't want surgery..i understand that it didn't go the way you wanted...but there was nothing particularly abnormal about yours I think you should say thank g-d..instead of complaining that you didn't get your natural birth.

Anonymous said...

In reference to the above comment saying the csection produced a healthy baby.. I respectfully disagree. The baby was HEALTHY ALL ALONG. Baby was head down, no elbow, baby was NOT sick even though pro-abort OB was all for chopping up the baby's brain. I think you should re-read the entire story again before shaking your finger at her. It had nothing to do with what she 'wanted' but what she knew wasn't right all along. She was ignored time and again and if she hadn't been ignored, I'll put money on the fact that they wouldn't have panicked in the end. Worry about the log in your own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone elses.

the rabbi's wife said...

It was at Bikur Cholim, which we all know is not the best managed hospital in Jerusalem, just the closest to my home. I will NOT be giving birth there again, if I can avoid it.
Both my previous births were there and I've never had a great experience. This time I really feel like if the staff had been more attentive in the early part of the day, they wouldn't have all panicked at 3 AM. But there were a lot of difficult births, all the rooms were full. So, not being the squeaky wheel, I was ignored until I squeaked.

Anon #2-
Thank you for your input. I am very grateful to HaShem for my beautiful baby. I'm not aainst medical intervention in birth when it is needed. like I said I had pitocin on both previous births (epidurals, too!), but my c-section was found to be UNNECESSARY and for a woman who wants to keep having kids (lots more, G-d willing) a c-section creates difficulties in the future. I'm not a fantastic healer and I then had 3 kids under 3 to deal with, and no family living in Israel to support me after the surgery. Try explaining to a one and a half year old why you can't pick them up after they fall. Or put them in their crib at night. or the myriad other things you can't do while recovering from major abdominal surgery that you can while recovering from a normal birth.

priest's wife said...

I'm sorry they had to do a c-section- now here in the US, VBACs are very rare (liability issues, etc, etc).

My last 2 babies (out of 4) were c-sections- but a VBAC with #4 would have been impossible because I was very sick and the baby was under 2 kilos.

Praise God for GOOD medicine- and I hope next time, you find doctors that work with you better

Laurel Pauline said...

Thanks to God that you now hold your baby boy in your arms. I am 69 years old and had 3 boys in the 70's. In the 70's so many of us women had to fight so very hard against the system to get what was good for our babies ... natural delivery, husbands in the delivery room, babies in the room with us rather than in the nursery, and fighting against the system to nurse our babies. Wow it was so hard; it seemed the whole system conspired against us at a time we were at our weakest. And now I read of your story 30 years later and can't believe we're still having to fight so hard against a bureaucracy that is determined to turn mystery into a scientific experiment. Obviously the details of our struggle have changed ... perhaps even become more pernicious, but the struggle remains -- the family against the institutions. I am grateful that there are people like youself and your husband to continue in this long tradition. I am just sorry that 30 years later the prize hasn't been won. God Bless you all.

anneinpt said...

I'm in shock at the attitude of the nurse/doctor that you should have an abortion at 40 weeks. I've never heard of such a thing! I didn't even think it was possible. I thought an abortion was simply inducing an early birth, and in your case that would have been a live birth. I'm double and treble shocked that this happened in Bikur Holim, a religious hospital. My daughter is on her sherut leumi in yoldot there. I wonder if she heard of your story. I also wonder if you had the pleasure of her company on the ward afterwards. If so, I certainly hope she made you feel better :-).

Wishing you refuah shlema and of course, mazal tov!

Anonymous said...

Mazel tov and refuah shlayma from the birth and the trauma of it!

I had 2 vbacs (in the states, many years ago when they were calmer about litigation) after a traumatic and horrible c-section, just to give you a little chizuk-

the first one was my easiest birth (I had had four previous vaginal births) BY FAR, and the second was without incident even though my baby was knh very large (10 lbs).

I know, anecdotal evidence, but please please do yourself the favor of speaking to many people about vbac. It was wonderful for me. My doctor told me, the first time, stay home as long as you can so no one will bother you with unnecessary monitoring (again, 20 years ago next month...)

Anne said...

"I think you should say thank g-d..instead of complaining that you didn't get your natural birth."

I agree with this comment.

It might be that you could have had your birth without a c-section. But what if you needed one and didn't have one?

We are now completing the shloshim of a woman who died in childbirth exactely because of this (her uterus tore up), and a friend of mine has a completely handicapped child aged 9 for the same reason. Healthy child- missed c-section-no oxygen- child will be a vegetable for the rest of her life and mother almost died at birth...

I think you should have some trust in the doctors and let them do their work according to their deontological standarts.

Anonymous said...

I think you should have some trust in the doctors and let them do their work according to their deontological standarts.
Whatever their "standarts" you should know that that in Israel doctors are licensed to work under the auspices of whatever certification they had from their home country. From first hand experience I can tell you that there is a world of difference between the standards of those trained in the Krasnodar Polytechnic Institute and those trained in Johns Hopkins. Thus the "standarts" very wildly from doctor to doctor.
No I am not comfortable with the "standarts" of doctors trained in the FSU. I do not think that it is healthy to bring my newborn to near hypothermia every day via cold water dousing, and I don't think that c-section is the first response to every hiccup in a delivery(both of which are normal medical practice in the FSU).

Anonymous said...

If you hadn't had the C Section and the baby went into fetal distress you would be kicking yourself.

I think you need to relax on the ultrasounds. They are there for a reason and aide the doctors in making sure the fetus is developing normally. Its frightening to me you never had a single one after 23 weeks. So many things can go wrong in a flash. If you were me and lost five babies (two third trimester) your naivite and stubborn denials would fly out the window. Third trimester screenings should be mandatory and consist of nothing more than a pinprick. I suppose finding out your child has a genetic defect incompatible with a quality life would make no difference to you. Rather than thinking Hashem chose me for a special needs child I prefer to see it that Hashem has provided me with these medical miracles so I can provide the best choices for my children. The choices are not fair and can be ugly, but not accepting proper medical care in this day and age is selfish. Letting a fetus possibly suffer is selfish.

I hope you never have the disappointment so many other women have faced. You may never know what its like to lose babies, but knowing I did everything I could makes me smart, not rightious.